Here are five categories to help you get started on your table setting ideas.
Layering your plates creates visual impact.
1. China and Glasses
You don’t have to spend a fortune on plates or glasses to create an elegant table. Accessorized the right way, your table settings will look like a million bucks. There’s no need to match; feel free to go with a mismatched theme. Some ways to dress up your china and glasses:
Stack your china. Start with a dinner plate, follow with a salad plate and top with a bowl.Use chargers to dress up your plates. A charger is a hybrid between a placemat and a plate. It frames the plate and is just large enough to create a nice frame or border around it. You can be creative with chargers; cut them out of decorative paper, or use simple wreaths or leaves under your plate.Group drinking glasses. Having more than one glass per setting adds a stylized look to your table. Try a grouping of wine glasses and a water tumbler in each setting.Get creative with silverware. Tie the silverware together with twine or ribbon, or place it artfully in your napkin to add a special touch.
Repeat the colors of your linens throughout your table to create a cohesive look.
2. Table Linens
Linens will set your table apart from the ordinary. Luckily, there is a huge variety of stylish, affordable table linen choices. Keep a box or drawer filled with the different linens listed below in colors, textures and patterns that mix and match. Some holiday-themed linens are also worth keeping in your linen box to add some holiday fun to your table settings. Essentials include:
Table runners. A runner is the most contemporary way to dress a table, especially if you don’t want to cover up a beautiful wood or glass tabletop with a tablecloth. Table runners are also versatile; you can layer them over a tablecloth, place them sideways to use as a shared placed setting with the person seated in front of you, or arrange a simple runner with candles.Tablecloths. A tablecloth is optional, but worth adding when you’re executing a special color theme or want to cover your table.Napkins. Don’t skimp on cloth napkins; they add a nice touch to your dining table. Consider them an important part of your table design. If the idea of having to wash napkins after a dinner is too much, pick up some disposable, banquet-style paper napkins. They come in lots of bold colors and fun prints.Placemats. Placemats create a stylish space for each place setting. Try them in woven vinyl or treated cotton; both types will clean up easily with a damp rag. You don’t have to use rectangular placemats; square ones give a table a contemporary look, while round placemats break up an angular tablescape.
This creative centerpiece displays calla lilies horizontally instead of vertically.
Bring out the beauty of your table settings by using a centerpiece to create a focal point. The centerpiece will unify and pump up the volume of the table’s theme. Be creative, but remember to keep it low and narrow; tall centerpieces make it hard to see people across the table, and large ones can crowd your place settings.
A good rule of thumb is that you’ll need a minimum of 14 inches on each side of the centerpiece for place settings. Subtract at least 28 inches from the width of your table; that’s how much space is left for your centerpiece area. Some centerpiece ideas include:
FlowersTwigsCandleholdersCrystals or river rocks
Ornaments and silver accents give this table an elegant and festive theme.
4. Decorative Items
These will give your table a personal touch like no other. Use items that have a common theme or a personal meaning throughout the table and place settings. Some ideas for decorative items include:
Objects such as bird figurines or small, colorful vasesUnusual napkin ringsHoliday-related items such as fall leaves, pumpkins, reindeer or small Christmas treesPlace setting name holdersSmall bundles of flowers or herbs for each place setting
A minimalist display of candles and flowers works well in a modern room.
Candles are an easy way to make a bold table statement; that’s why we’ve given them their own category. Use plenty of candles on your dining table. They’ll cast a warm glow and create sparkle if strategically placed near shiny objects.
Choose unscented candles to accompany a meal; scented candles can clash with the aroma of the food. If candles are not practical, use battery-operated candles or strings of light on your table.
A luxuriously dressed coffee table is ready for dinner for two.
Table settings aren’t exclusive to a dining table. You can also set a kitchen counter or coffee table for a special meal or morning breakfast.
Take inspiration from our table setting ideas and make your next dinner party memorable. Be bold and express yourself, and you can’t go wrong.